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Book festival will be ‘delightful’

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By Fiona Reid
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Book festival will be ‘delightful’

‘TEN days of delights’ – that’s how this year’s Wigtown Book Festival programme is being described.

It was launched this week by guest programmer Lee Randall, above, and reveals a multitude of authors lining up to discuss their latest books, plus poetry, film and music.

There will also be a series of powerful lectures and discussions on key issues ranging from the climate emergency to the 25th anniversary of the Scotland Act and the failure of world economics to account for the use of our natural resources.

Big names include Strictly winner Hamza Yassin; award winning author Maggie O’Farrell; bestseller Joanne Harris; famous tennis mum Judy Murray and her debut novel; UK food tsar Henry Dimbleby; former BBC Breakfast star Louise Minchin; Mozart expert Dame Jane Glover; accidental footballer Pat Nevin; BBC Springwatch botanist Leif Bersweden; Costa prizewinner Stef Penney; and endurance cycling legend Jenny Graham.

Economist Partha Dasgupa will deliver the annual James Mirrlees Lecture, while the Magnusson Lecture will be given by Icelandic activist Andri Snær Magnason.

In addition, returning to the festival will be Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler; hit storyteller Michael Morpurgo; broadcaster and writer Sally Magnusson; as well as a look at 85 years of The Beano.

Lee explained the themes for 2023 cover favourite fiction, big ideas, history makers, great lives, out and about, inspiring journeys, rural realities and personal reflections.

And she said: “I hope that what we’ve come up with adds up to a full ten days of delights – a really exciting mix of brilliant contemporary fiction and the very best in non-fiction alongside superb debut novels and Galloway yarns.

“This all rubs shoulders with wild walks, music, film, poetry, lectures and discussions.

“The programme also attempts to reflect the unique character of Scotland’s National Book Town. I hope you enjoy it.”

Lee at the programme launch. Pics by Colin Hattersley

Cathy Agnew, chair of the festival trustees, is looking forward to the 25th anniversary celebrations and added: “To survive and thrive for a quarter of a century would be an achievement in any circumstances. But after the challenges of covid and in the face of the hostile winds blowing through the cultural sector, it feels faintly miraculous.

“None of it would have happened without the enduring support of our funders and sponsors and the extraordinary team of volunteers who help make the festival happen. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. Here’s to the next 25.”

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